Eugene McMullan RIP

By Denis O’Hara

FORMER Antrim and Ulster hurler Eugene McMullan of Glenarm died this week after a long illness.

The man in the cap Eugene McMullan swings one handed on the ball as he and Antrim team mate Seamus Gallagher battle against Cork in Croke Park in 1958

The gentle giant, a formidable midfielder with his native St Joseph’s GAC when winning the Antrim Junior hurling title in 1957, was a prominent member of the Antrim team that won the 1959 All-Ireland Home Junior hurling championship. He was also a regular member of the Ulster Railway Cup teams in the early sixties.

Eugene McMullan and his Glenarm club mate Arthur Forsythe on an team in the early 1960

Another Glenarm club ace and fellow midfielder who featured in both those club and county teams was the late Arthur Forsythe.

Eugene, a strapping six footer who always played with great determination, was a familiar figure in hurling action when always wearing a cloth cap.

The six-footer, who lived in Glenarm village with wife Marie, was a brother of the late Canon Alexander McMullan – a past President of St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower, who was himself a accomplished hurler.

Eugene, a low handicap golfer for many years, he competed in Senior Cup, Barton Shield and Junior Cup for Cushendall Golf Club where he was Club Captain in 1991. He was also a member of Cairndhu Golf Club, Larne.

To his wife Marie children Brian, Caitriona, Colette and Niall and wider family circle we offer our sincere condolences

2006-A good year for Gort na Mona

Today we continue our look back to 2006 and a couple more juvenile finals, both involving Gort na Mona. The lads from Enright Park had a great season and lifted the silverware in both these finals. Unfortunately I don’t have reports from these games but I believe that the first against Rasharkin was an U14 final at Creggan with the Kickham’s Tony McCollum doing the honours.

The second final in our feature saw Gort na Mona defeat Sean Stinson’s, possibly U16 or Minor with Danny McLarnon from St. Mary’s Rasharkin making the presentation.

If anyone has reports from either of these games or can give me some more details on these finals then send me an e.mail to and we will add your report to this article.

Antrim Gaels will be encouraged by Finance Minister’s announcement

Long suffering Antrim Gaels will be encouraged by a comment from Finance Minister, Conor Murphy that an initial £20 million should allow work to finally begin on Casement Park.

Conor Murphy made the comment in the Assembly chamber last night has he announced the Executive had signed off on a “difficult” draft budget for 2021/22.

It will see £20m allocated for Casement as part of a £1.75 billion capital spending programme that includes   the projects such as the A5, A6 and a new mother and children’s hospital. Mr Murphy told MLAs the funding would “enable work to finally begin on Casement Park”.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy

The 34,578-seater stadium originally had a budget of £77m, with the GAA pledging £15m but the projected cost is now believed to be in the region of £110m. Former Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín previously suggested the GAA would have to increase its contribution.

A Stormont source last night played that down however, stating that as a flagship project, the stadium project would largely be funded by the Executive.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon indicated in October that she would recommend planning approval for the new Casement stadium. But planning approval has not yet been awarded for the project.

A Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokeswoman said last night: “Both the Council and the applicant have written to confirm that they agree with the notice to approve and work continues to complete the planning process.  As with the soccer and rugby stadiums, funding is critical for construction.”

The Department for Communities (DfC) said it is working with the Ulster Council and the Department of Finance to finalise a business case. However that document will remain in draft form until the planning process is concluded.

The announcement will be viewed with a deal of scepticism in some quarters however given the delays that have preceded the Antrim flagship project.

The Finance Minister announced that Stormont’s Covid response pot will stand at £538m in 2021/22, down from £3bn in the current year. Most of that will go to health and education, with £126.9m left for other interventions, limiting the scope for economic intervention.

Conor Murphy said the block grant from the Treasury effectively left Stormont with “a standstill” budget for departments from April.

Sean O’Neill on Saffcast

Davitt’s legend Sean O’Neill is Conor Donnelly’s guest on this week’s Saffcast. The Crusaders FC goalkeeper, who has had a colourful career in both GAA and soccer, chats to Conor about the famous All-Ireland Minor Championship campaign which saw Sean and a star studded Antrim team reach the 2006 Ulster MFC Final in Croke Park and All-Ireland Quarter Final, his senior county debut in 2011, his brief return in 2016, his love for his club Davitt’s and just how big Adama Traore is in real life! (I might’ve called him Armand Traore, apologies Arsenal fans!) 

Enjoy the podcast and be sure to spread the word of the Saffcast! Two podcasts per week throughout January!

Antrim goalkeeper Sean O’Neill in the pre-match parade before the Antrim v Donegal game in Ballybofey in 2011

Ollie Bellew is new Ardoyne Senior Hurling Manager

Ardoyne CLG

We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Ollie Bellew as our Senior Hurling Team Manager for 2021.

Ollie has managed his own club St Galls to their first ever Senior Hurling Championship final in 2014. He also managed Antrim minors and U21s to Ulster Championship and Leinster leagues successes. He has won a number of Ulster titles with Antrim seniors as a selector and coach. Ollie also managed Ulster University and St Marys University Belfast with success.

Who is in charge of your teams this season?

Seeing this post by Arodyne Kickhams gave me the idea of finding out who is in charge of all the other teams in the county. Who is the manager of your club? Could I ask PROs within the county to send us your management team for the new year in both hurling, football (ladies and men) and included a few lines about them. Can you email either or or simply message us on the Saffron Gael Facebook page